On Monday, British energy multinational bp announced that it is partnering with fellow oil and gas majors Eni, Equinor, National Grid, Shell and Total on a new initiative, the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), which will develop offshore carbon dioxide ‎‎(CO2) transport and storage infrastructure in the U.K. North Sea.

The ‎carbon capture, utilization and storage initiative, which bp will lead and operate, will serve the Net Zero Teesside (NZT) and Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) ‎projects. These two projects are set to become the world’s first net-zero industrial clusters, with the hope that their successful at-scale launch will kick-start decarbonization of industry and power in two of the U.K.’s largest industrial clusters, Teeside and Humberside. These Northern towns have historically depended upon energy-intensive industries like steelmaking, chemicals and commodity production for their economic livelihoods.

Both projects aim to be up and running by 2026, ‎with realistic pathways to achieve net zero emissions as early as 2030. This will be achieved through a combination of carbon capture, ‎hydrogen and fuel-switching technologies. If successful, NEP’s contribution to NZT and ZCH will enable the decarbonization of ‎nearly 50 percent of the U.K.’s industrial emissions.‎

NEP has submitted a bid for funding through Phase 2 of the U.K. government’s Industrial ‎Decarbonization Challenge. This is a £170 million (about $221 million) government incentive program designed to speed up development of an offshore pipeline network to ‎transport captured CO2 emissions from both NZT and ZCH to offshore geological storage beneath the ‎U.K. North Sea.‎

The Industrial Decarbonization Challenge is itself part of a £4.7 billion (about $6.1 billion) Industrial Strategy ‎Challenge Fund set up by the U.K. government to address pressing industrial and societal challenges ‎using research and development based in the U.K. NEP’s application for funding is an important step ‎towards enabling the development of integrated offshore carbon storage for NZT and ZCH in the U.K. ‎Southern North Sea.‎

The application follows the approval by the U.K. Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) of the addition of bp and ‎Equinor alongside National Grid to the latter’s carbon storage license in the Endurance reservoir. Endurance is the most mature large scale saline aquifer for CO2 storage ‎in the offshore U.K. Continental Shelf that can enable industrial decarbonization from both clusters. ‎

Big leap for CCUS

Andy Lane, vice president of CCUS solutions at bp and managing director for Net Zero Teesside, said: ‎‎“The formation of the Northern Endurance Partnership is another significant milestone towards ‎developing the offshore infrastructure that will be needed to safely transport and store CO2 from ‎CCUS projects along England’s east coast. The partnership and our joint bid demonstrate industry’s ‎willingness to come together and collaborate wherever possible to accelerate making CCUS a reality ‎in the UK, helping to decarbonize the local economy and contributing to the U.K.’s climate goals.” ‎

Grete Tveit, senior vice president for low carbon solutions at Equinor, said: “Carbon capture and ‎storage is a crucial technology for reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement and we are committed ‎to working with others to create real change. We believe that with our partners in the Humber, ‎Teesside and the Northern Endurance Partnership we can deliver deep decarbonization of these ‎major UK industrial clusters using CCUS and hydrogen, safeguarding jobs and helping develop world-‎leading low carbon expertise that can play a leading role in the UK’s journey to net zero by 2050.”‎

And Martin Cook, senior vice president for business development for National Grid Ventures , said: ‎‎“National Grid sits at the heart of the UK’s energy system and we want to contribute to the economic ‎recovery through investing in solutions to support a net zero future. The Northern Endurance ‎Partnership will channel the extensive experience of its members to develop and deliver the offshore ‎transport and storage infrastructure we need to unlock the enormous benefits of deploying CCUS ‎across the Humber and Teesside. We’re delighted to start working together with five really world ‎class energy companies to deliver a solution that will play a critical role in decarbonizing the UK’s ‎largest industrial heartland and protecting tens of thousands of jobs in the process.”‎

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